My Favorite Wine Can Be Described in 3 Letters: GSM

38664I have liked many wines in my time. These are wines that I uncork regularly to enjoy with a meal or to share with friends over a deep (or not-so-deep) conversation.

There also are wines that I like A LOT — that I tend to buy by the case and track down with each new vintage. These are the wines that I serve on special occasions — an anniversary dinner, the Thanksgiving meal, a landmark birthday.

But I have to admit that there have been only a relative few wines that I’ve truly LOVED — that I would drink every day and in great quantity if money were not an object and the human body did not require a well-functioning liver in order for one to enjoy optimum health.

That wine?


To some Europeans, GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications (originally Groupe Special Mobile), a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute to describe the protocols for second-generation digital cellular networks used by mobile phones, first deployed in Finland in July 1991. As of 2014, it had become the de facto global standard for mobile communications, with over 90% market share, operating in over 219 countries and territories.

I have no idea what all of that means, but it comes straight from Wikipedia, so it must be true.

However, to me… and other wine lovers… GSM standards for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre — three grape varieties that, when blended together, produce truly magical wines.

The blend is believed to have originated in the Southern Rhone of France, and it’s the blend you’ll typically encounter when you open a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. But my first experience with it was a cuvee from Australia. I honestly do not remember which winery produced it, but I do know that I’ve tried countless renditions from Down Under in the years since, and have never been disappointed.

What is it that makes the melding of these three varieties so sublime?

Let’s start with the Grenache. It typically contributes a bit of spice and some soft berry notes.

The Syrah — which the Aussies call Shiraz — provides pepper and black fruit notes, and also lends body and color.

The Mourvedre provides roasted game and tobacco impressions, along with a sense of sweet plums. Structurally, it provides a sense of elegance.

When you marry all of those qualities, is there really anything more you need in a red wine? As far as my taste buds are concerned, the answer to that question is no. And that’s why if I am pressed to name my “favorite” type of wine, my answer is GSM.

Want to experience the wonderfulness of GSM for yourself? The Vinesse tasting panel has put together a collection that is likely to transform you into a GSM lover, too — the wine kind of GSM, not the digital cellular network kind.

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Posted in Wine in the Glass
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